We all know that yoga is great for deep breathing and stretching, but did you also know it can strengthen and tone your abs?
If you’re sick of doing endless crunches, try holding some of these ab-focused yoga poses. You’ll feel the burn in your core for days afterwards!
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This versatile yoga pose is effective at all levels of fitness. The areas strengthened by this pose are hip flexors, quadriceps, back muscles and abs.
- Start lying with your back flat on a mat, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your back so it’s slightly off the ground. Start to raise your legs off the ground, aiming to stretch them out and to give your body a V-shape with only your tailbone on the ground.
- Your arms should be stretched forward and parallel to the ground to provide some balance.
- Balance on your tailbone with your face looking upwards, and hold the pose. Aim to hold for 30 seconds.
Perhaps the most famous of yoga poses for stronger abs is the plank position. The plank has several variations designed to sculpt and strengthen the abdominals and lower back.
- Start on all fours with only your hands and feet holding your body’s weight. Shoulders should be directly above your wrists; your palms should be firmly planted on the ground and underneath the shoulders.
- Push backward, stretching out your legs, and hold the pose until you feel your core engaged.
- Hold the pose for as long as possible. Beginners should aim for 30 seconds.
With this pose, you’ll strengthen your lower back, abs, obliques and lower abdominal area.
- Lie flat on a mat with your arms stretched out wide and your legs tightly held together while straight up in the air.
- The palms of your hands should be on the ground for support, and your arms should be in line with your shoulders while stretched out to both sides of your torso.
- Exhale and try to reach your toes toward the fingers on one hand, hold for a few seconds and bring your legs back to the center. Relax and reach to your toes with the opposite arm.
Knee To Nose Pose
This tried-and-true pose guarantees your abdominals an excellent workout.
- Begin on all fours, your hands and feet firmly planted on the ground and your core suspended completely off the ground.
- Slowly raise your hips until your body forms an upside down V-shape with your tailbone forming the highest point of the V and pointed toward the ceiling.
- Bring your shoulders over your wrists keeping your arms straight. Pull your right knee as close to your chest as possible while making sure your hips are in line with your shoulders
- Round your back as you try to bring your nose to your knee. Hold the pose and repeat with the other knee.
Low Boat Pose
This is an advanced variation of the classic boat pose, but you’ll hold the pose lower so as to engage the lower abs.
- Start off in boat pose.
- Stretch your arms forward and lift your legs up six inches from the floor. The lower the pose, the harder you have to work to engage the abs. Try to keep your legs totally straight. Hold the pose. Then lower your body to the starting position for one rep.
Forearm Plank Pose
This yoga pose is an advanced version of the yoga plank. But instead of balancing your upper arms on your hands, you’ll rest them on your forearms.